According to a new survey by Terminix, 93% of Americans are afraid of pests, with many even experiencing nightmares about them. Spiders alone frighten nearly a third of the American population.
Other pests that can be causing sleepless nights for you and your tenants include bugs, insects, rodents, and even snakes. When pests invade your rental property, they not only disrupt your tenant’s peace, but they also decrease your property’s value, warns Bigham & Associates, a professional property management company located here in Austin, Texas.
Did you know that termites cost Americans more than $5 million in damages every year? That’s right! This is at least according to the National Pest Management Association. Termites eat away at subfloors, ceiling support, floor supports, drywall, and house frames.
Fortunately, you can avoid a pest infestation at your rental property by regularly inspecting it. As a matter of fact, pest inspections are usually free.
In most states, it’s the responsibility of landlords to offer and maintain a pest-free rental. In addition, by keeping your rental free of pests, you are more likely to have a good relationship with your tenant.
What are the Most Common Pests?
Common pests throughout the country include flies, ticks, ants, fleas, termites, bed bugs, rodents, cockroaches, and beetles. Your property may also be prone to a certain kind of pest depending on its location. Termites, for instance, are most common down south.
Who Between Landlords & Tenants is Responsible for Handling Pests?
According to the Implied Warranty of Habitability law, landlords are responsible for providing safe premises among other things. That said, landlords can’t be held accountable if the pest problem results from a tenant’s negligence or carelessness. For example, if the pest infestation is caused by the tenant not taking the trash out, or leaving food out, then the costs of ridding the property of pests become theirs to handle.
5 Tips to Prevent Pest Invasion on your Rental Property
Sure, you may not be able to control everything your tenant does on your property. Nevertheless, there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce the chances of a pest invasion.
Tip #1: Exterminate on a regular basis.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. As you inspect your property, you also want to check for any signs of pest infestations. Doing this will help you catch issues early before they become serious and costly. Common signs of pest infestations to be on the lookout for include:
• Complaints from tenants
• Shed wings of termites, or fecal pellets that are tan and resemble sawdust
• Fecal droppings, urine trails, and footprints through dust paths
• Small holes in the walls and floors, or holes in or around the property
• Sounds of scratching on the walls, gnawing, squeaking, or scurrying
• Roach egg cases and signs of bed bugs
Tip #2: Seal up all entry points.
Cracks and crevices can be the entry points of little critters, seal them. Do it inside your property as well as around your property. Caulk is a good sealant. On the interior, ensure you check crawl spaces, attics, common areas, and basements. On the exterior, make sure to check gaps around doors, windows, vents, and pipes.
Also, check your building’s foundation. Termites, carpenter bees, carpenter ants, and pillbugs are common around a home’s foundation. To prevent mice, insert a mixture of caulk and steel wool into the crack or hole. This is because mice will chew through caulk alone. While this can cost you valuable time, it can help save you time and money afterward.
Tip #3: Get rid of stagnant water around your property.
Standing water acts as a breeding ground for insects. It also attracts rodents and cockroaches. After getting rid of it, find its source. If from a leaky faucet or pipe, fix the problem immediately.
Tip #4: Remove clutter around the property.
Get rid of any clutter around your property’s perimeter. This is because clutter around your perimeter can provide a nice nesting spot for vermin. And, if pests are living near your property, chances are high that they will get inside. So, get rid of weeds and trim hedges. You also want to move logs of compost and piles of wood away from your property.
Tip #5: Have proper waste bins.
These bins should be sturdy and have lids. They should also be free of holes or cracks. Make sure that the bins are large enough to accommodate each of your tenant’s garbage needs.
Moreover, advise your tenants to place the waste bins a good distance from the actual building. The goal is to help prevent the smell of the garbage from attracting creatures to your property.
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to keep your rental property in a fit and habitable condition. This includes preventing pest infestations. Hopefully, these five tips will help get you started in this regard.